He clearly has that more open stance this spring. He strides toward the plate and the pitcher, loading up the hips. This isn't a pure slappy effort.
Malcontent threw a couple of jumbo-sized, garden-fresh potatoes in the pot by noticing Gordon's power add last September. He sez,
Hey Doc! Did you notice Dee changed his batting stance in September? The results seem to be much better contact(he ran an .800 OPS without walking). I'd love to get your thoughts on whether it's a long term improvement that might presage a new offensive level.
He clearly has a wider stance, and it seems like his shoulders line up a little different, but this is far from anything I'm good at. He certainly looks more intent in September.
Which led to a great roundtable over in the other Gordon thread. Mo' Dawg, who probably should be running our after-school meetings on hitters Peyton Manning style, sez
1) His feet are way more open.
2) He's loaded much more.
3) He slugged .455 in Sept., his previous high being .391 (Dr. D likes even better Malcontent's observation of 6-7x different 95+ MPH screamballs during the month vs only 11 the rest of the season.)
1) He looks lower and tighter (reminding Dr. D of Rose and Henderson).
2) He was so good at hitting pitches on the black that he tended -- paradoxically -- to over-chase them, which an open stance might help correct.
This is the type of situation where, it seems to the 'Frame, if the adjustment goes sideways then it's easy enough for Gordon to return to his arm-swing "PEPPER" mode.
Remembering that it's just two AB's here, Gordon's intent is obvious because his pre-stance and his gather is obviously contrived. The 'Frame /cosigns Mo' Dawg's take on the situation; Matty's suggestion is very intriguing and worth watching for.
So what happens when you have an arm-swinging chop-and-run guy, and he decides it's time to --- > gather the weight a little more and put a bit of steam on the swing?
UP: He's seen enough pitches now, that he's going to go into a late-developer arc and maybe step up half a plateau.
MID: He has to revert to playing "pepper." Most "statistically probable" in my mind.
LO: He loses the ground ball ratio, in exchange for some fly ball outs, and goes backwards.
UP happens. The Mariners for some reason are a magnet for late developers, Raul Ibanez and Jamie Moyer and of course Boomstick and you could name a dozen others. I particularly like this scenario -- at least to watch and see what develops -- because it is a subtle gather that he is using.
Previously, Gordon was almost playing fungo at the plate; now, he's getting the bat head out a little bit. In general terms, Dr. Roto would consider this a bit of a plus and grade Dee as a moderate BUY opportunity (speaking of the new swing and nothing else).
MID is what will probably happen. You know how pepper works: 5 guys stand 20 feet away and flip the ball to the hitter, who half-swings grounders to each of them in succession. Dave Henderson once said, "95 MPH and up, you go to your pepper swing." Gordon happened to be one of the few major leaguers who did that a ton, maybe most the time, and it will be easy enough for Gordon to warp right back into that wormhole if he runs into trouble. It's easy for anybody to do it; that's the point.
Dr. D simply doesn't know whether Gordon sees the ball well enough (now, after 3,000 AB's) to attack the ball he guesses right on, and sustain his .341/.344/.455 September. Let's watch, what say
But there are late bloomers in baseball. It would be super fun to see Gordon suddenly turn into a 60-SB Johnny Damon :- )
He didn't do that before, it should give him a little more bat acceleration through the zone, right?
when he tweeted about how working with Edgar's going to make him hit so good this year? Obviously he made the initial change last year before meeting with 'Gar, but if Edgar gave some positive reinforcement along with some tactical suggestions for how to make the changes permanent, I could see that invigorating a guy like Gordon--who seems like a borderline unstoppable bundle of energy, judging from his tweets, other public comments, and play style.
Really looking forward to MinI-chiro in an M's uniform ;-)
1987 team record 60 SB is in jeopardy. Ichiro had 56 in his rookie campaign but never cleared 50 in Japan or again here. Ichiro's 39 consecutive steals in 2006 was a feat that's possible but seems much less likely to top. Edgar's 123 BB in 96 feels like a much safer record today.
I remembered the Judge and Stanton talk when I saw the M's team record of Griffey and A-Rod combining for 98 HR in '98. How long has it been since there's been a triple digit pair? Maris/Mantle? Well, Rich Aurillia had 37 in '01 to go with Bonds' 73. Probably the only SS to combine for triple figures in a pair ever. McGwire and Ray Lankford combined for 101 in '98. But the '61 Yankees pair had 115. That seems to be the bar.
Out of the rabbit hole...
Gordon has cleared 200 hits twice and showed a .333/.359/.418 career year at 27. He has stolen 64, 58 and 60 3 of the last 4 years in a worse offense (potentially more PA in this one). If you considered .333/.359/.418 his peak before a swing change (which assumes much, but for the sake of understanding) how do you think this stance/swing change would affect those numbers? Move some of the BA to SLG at something like 1=1.5 rate? Increase BB and OBP slightly since his zone shrunk with a shorter stance?